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Member Gayle Abrams reflects on VBS & StP

St. Philip Lutheran Church VBS (Vacation Bible School) ended today. I am so full of gratitude that I just need to share. I am grateful to Pastor Kyle and Gemma for putting together such an awesome program, free of charge, to any child who wanted to come (72 kids participated). And to the Station Leaders, crew leaders, Jr. crew leaders, the “snack ladies”, all the support staff, and most especially to all the kids who all came together this week and shared God’s love with me....I love you all!

Each day, there was a different theme we focused on. These lessons were not only for the kids, but ones that all of us could related to:

Monday: When life is unfair, God is good! (Unfair: I had to work 8 hours at my regular job in addition to being a VBS counselor each day Good: I do have a job and they did give me the flexibility to be at VBS)

Tuesday: When life is scary, God is good! (Scary: while I was at work on Tuesday my mom was taken to the ER Good: my brother was able to be with my mom and the doctor’s found the problem with her pacemaker and adjusted it)

Wednesday: When life changes, God is good! (Changes: My child whom I have always known as female shared he is transgender Good: Jesse has the courage to be his authentic self and his announcement had been met with love and acceptance from family and friends).

Thursday: When life is sad, God is good! (Sad: My boss, whom I respect and admire, retired this week and is moving away Good: Joe deserves a happy retirement and I am a Facebook friend so I can keep in touch with him)

Friday: When life is good, God is good! (Good: I got to spend the mornings this week at church, singing and dancing, playing and learning, surrounded by old friends and some people I just met, feeling good and reminded that I am never alone and that God loves me.)

I wasn’t looking for a Church when I first came to St. Philip (I hadn't been raised in the Christian religion). I wasn’t looking for a church family when I came to St. Philip (I have a wonderful family of origin AND a family of choice). I wasn’t even looking for God (I didn’t know what it meant to have a personal relationship with God). Back before I joined St. Philip I just didn’t know what I was missing. Now I can’t imagine my life without St. Philip Church, my church family and most importantly God. It’s not what I expected (or feared) it would be but it’s everything I always wanted….unconditional love and acceptance and the strength to face whatever challenges life give me (whether unfair, scary, changing, sad, or good). GOD IS GOOD!!!!!!!

I especially want to thank my husband Lance and my son Jesse for their love, support and understanding this week. Not only was I stretched so thin this week I had nothing left for them (I missed most dinners) but they had to deal with the grumpy tired person at the end of each day. I love you guys!!

At St. Philip Church they say:

God loves you as you are --- your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, age, socioeconomic and employment status, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, or religious background --- and so do we. You are welcome here!

These might just sound like nice words but I assure you the good people of St. Philip Church live them every day. The majority of kids at our VBS were not members of our church, yet everyone was treated as family. No one at St. Philip has ever asked me to be or believe anything....they have always accepted me as I am. They have just made me feel welcome and shared their love and faith with me. I invite all my family and friends to come by some Sunday morning at 9am and check it out for yourself. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

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